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How I Built a Mini Texturing Tool
for Decorating Wood Turnings

by Phil Colson
Atlanta, GA

I wanted to share how I built a homemade mini-texturing tool for my turnings using a scrap of wood and a few common pieces of hardware. (These hardware parts are now available in a hardware parts kit from Highland Woodworking.) It uses a Dremel HSS cutter to get repeatable textures. I use it on boxes, bottle stoppers, pens, finials, bowls and hollow forms.

The hardware parts I used include a 17/32" OD by .503" ID brass tube, two 3/8" bearings with a 1/8" center , two 3/8" rare earth magnets , a 3/8" x 1/2" router collet insert , and a nylon spacer. I used a scrap of wood that I had on hand for the handle.

Start by rounding the handle between centers, creating a 1/2" x 2-1/2" round tenon on one end.

Chuck the tenon in spigot jaws, then finish shaping the handle. Sand and finish the handle while it's still on the lathe.

I use #100 CA Finish because it gives a hard finish and can be glossy or satin. I sand up to no sanding marks on the handle, then float the finish on the piece while it is turning slowly. I use a paper towel to apply. The #100 Ca finish has an open time of about one minute, so it self levels. Once dry, sand it with 800 grit to remove any imperfections. Buff for a gloss finish and wax for a satin finish.

Place both magnets at the bottom of the collet. Place one of the bearings on top of the magnets, then the nylon spacer and then the other bearing on top. Dry fit everything before gluing. Glue the two magnets at the bottom first. Complete as per instructions and glue the top bearing in the top of the collet. Glue on the outside rim of the bearing to the collet.

Measure the 1/2" round tenon and collet insert and cut the brass tube a little long. Put the brass tube in the spigot jaws and size with a HSS skew, using the skew as a scraper. CA glue the insert into the brass tube and glue the tube onto the dowel. Put the 1/8" shank Dremel cutter in the tool and texture away.

I have used lathe speeds from 500 to 1500 rpm and it does not seem to matter. Hold the cutter on the wood and apply pressure so the cutter cuts. I have only scratched the surface of possibilities with this tool so have fun and happy turning!

How to purchase the hardware kit for this tool

If you prefer not to build your own mini-texturing tool,
consider purchasing a quality ready-to-use
mini-texturing tool known as the Decorating Elf
that is manufactured by Henry Taylor Tools
of Sheffield, England.

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